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FIA Saturday press conference - Austria, part 1 17 May 2003

Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari in the press conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Austrian Grand Prix, A1-Ring, Austria, 17 May 2003

POST-QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE - MAY 17, 2003
1. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 1m09.150s
2. Kimi RAIKKONEN (McLAREN), 1m09.189s (+ 0.039s)
3. Juan Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), 1m09.391s (+ 0.241s)

Published with permission from the Federation Internationale de l' Automobile.

Q: Michael, a little bit down on sector one there...

Michael SCHUMACHER: Yes, a little wobble, a little rear locking which caused me to go wide but I was still lucky because I was able to catch it just at the apex again and didn't lose too much time and then had a good lap from there on.

Q: Rubens was a little bit down on his lap - was that a concern for you going into your qualifying lap?

MS: I didn't actually see the sectors; I just heard the result afterwards. No, honestly, our car has been perfectly balanced all weekend. Together with the engineers, we've done a great job finding the balance straight away from Friday morning onwards. No, I felt that I could do better.

Q: You were significantly quicker than anybody else yesterday in terms of car versus car, but today it looks very close. How do you see the race tomorrow?

MS: What we saw yesterday I would maybe put down to set-up issues. I guess the huge difference that we saw wasn't honestly a true reflection. At least, that's my guess from what I have seen and what I have seen today, so it should be an interesting situation tomorrow.

Q: Kimi, you are still leading the World Championship after an unfortunate incident on the start line of the Spanish Grand Prix and you are bouncing back very strongly here in Austria...

Kimi RAIKKONEN: Yes, it's been a good qualifying. Unfortunately we haven't got first place but the front row is okay and we will see what we can do in the race.

Q: Tell us about the car - how you have been working with it this weekend, how does it feel, what's the balance like?

KR: Well yesterday we had some problems, some difficulties with set-ups but we have improved the set-up all the time, especially from this morning, and we seem to have found the right way. In qualifying the car was good to drive and I'm quite happy with it.

Q: What do you think will be the strong points for your package tomorrow?

KR: Hopefully everything, but I don't know what other teams are doing and they don't know what we are doing. We will see what's going on in the race tomorrow and we will give it our best shot and then hopefully it's enough.

Q: Juan Pablo, you were sixth quickest yesterday but you did say that you had your feeling back for the car. Can you talk a little bit more about that?

Juan Pablo MONTOYA: I think yesterday was a good day. The car was starting to get better. We had a really good balance, but it wasn't quick enough and even though the car felt good today, the situation was the same - good balance but it was just about to be quick. We did some changes, some pretty radical changes, on the car and it made a hell of a difference. The car has got so much quicker since then. I think we've got a good strategy for the race and in the long runs we look very competitive compared to Ferrari and McLaren so it should be an interesting race tomorrow.

Q: Quite a lot of drivers seemed to run a bit too wide at turn one today in qualifying...

JPM: Yeah, actually I lost over a tenth there from my sector in the warm-up because I went in the warm-up and I had a bit of a moment, even though it was quicker it was too far on the limit. I thought everybody's making mistakes there and I knew I had to do a decent first sector without compromising the lap and that's what I did - and looking compared to Michael and Kimi that's where I lost all the time. Even with that, I'm P3 and I'm pretty happy about that.

Q: Michael, since this race last year, we have a new rule that says no team orders should be applied that affect the result of the race. Now, we saw you and Rubens actually touching wheels at the first corner in the previous race, the Spanish Grand Prix. Can you just talk us through your interpretation of that new rule under the heading of 'how do you also drive in the best interests of the team?'

MS: You see the thing in my mind is to win the race, and that's the only thing that counts. That's what I'm going for, that's what our strategy is based on, and team strategy is history.

Q: Fine, but nonetheless, team strategy does come into play still. We see different cars on different strategies, even within the same teams sometimes.

MS: Yup, possible, but I think we made a very clear statement after what happened last year and we will stick to that statement and whatever is allowed from there. Everybody will do the same whenever it's in their interests.

Q: There are some predictions of rain tomorrow. What are your thoughts on that?

MS: Well, no thoughts honestly. I think we will be prepared for all circumstances. We now have two choices of tyres, which I think is a very wise decision from the FIA to make the sport a bit safer in that respect, so I have no doubts whatever weather conditions we will face.